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Court allows appeal in Sh4m HIV status suit

Milimani Law Courts
The Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A court has rejected a bid to dismiss an appeal filed by a city hospital against an order to pay Sh4.2 million to a patient it misdiagnosed to be HIV positive for revealing the status to his employer.

Justice Beatrice Thuranira Jaden, of the High Court in Nairobi, found that the Guru Nanak Ramgarhia Sikh Hospital had not deliberately delayed to prosecute its appeal against the award made by the HIV Tribunal in September 2017.

The delay, she said, was caused by lack of the tribunal’s proceedings since the term of earlier members had expired in December, 2018 and therefore the delay was occasioned by circumstances beyond the control of the hospital.

The patient identified as Mr WA in his application wanted the appeal dismissed for want of prosecution and orders of stay issued against the HIV tribunal’s judgement set aside. Mr WA stated that the delay was inexcusable yet the appellants continue to enjoy the orders of stay of execution.

In the appeal the hospital wants findings made by the six-member tribunal chaired by Jotham Okome Arwa set aside and the judgement overturned.

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The tribunal found that the hospital violated the patient’s rights when it shared with his employers his sensitive medical records.

Mr WA indicated that his employment was terminated on grounds of his HIV status.

In his statement of claim, he said the employer initially forced him into early retirement, but recalled him after seven days on the condition that he goes for medical check up to establish the cause of his deteriorating health.

He went to the Guru Nanak hospital where he was found to be HIV positive, but he never disclosed his status to his employer.

The tribunal found that the hospital failed to take reasonable precaution to protect the confidentiality of the same.

The hospital was also penalised for non-compliance with the set standards and for breach of the patient’s right to confidentiality and privacy.

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